What WON’T You Accomplish This Year?
Bethany Fishbein, OD
CEO, Power Practice
What WON’T You Accomplish This Year?

What WON’T You Accomplish This Year?

I recently had the opportunity to lead a business’s leadership team through a fairly standard brainstorming exercise– thinking of all of the new services they could add to make their company better in 2023, putting them up on a whiteboard without judgment, asking “what else?” and staying silent until they’d exhausted their creativity and were out of ideas.

We went through and combined similar ideas, deleted a few that were unrealistic or impossible, and ended up with 19 really good ideas on the board.

I’ve seen teams stop here.  They declare it to be a great session, hang the list of ideas in a staff breakroom, and hope everyone will be inspired to make changes.  However, this team knew better– they knew the adages “when everything matters, nothing matters” and “if you have too many priorities, you don’t have any”

We needed to narrow the list down to the best ideas.  I asked the team to pick out the ideas that were least likely to be successful this year– things that were too long-term, too much of a reach, or required resources that they would likely not have in the upcoming months.  And then I asked the team to pick out the ones most likely to succeed.  “If you were gambling and had to put your chip on the idea most likely to work this year, which would you pick?”

As we narrowed it down to the top 3, I gave the team the option to not pursue any of the ideas.  They had just finished a tough year, where they were understaffed and overworked, and feeling a bit burnt out and unappreciated.  They had a staff member who would be retiring, and a new one starting who would need to be trained.  Did they really need to add anything else to their plates?  They unanimously agreed that they wanted to add something new, and also agreed that it was a little overwhelming to think about.

It was difficult to narrow the ideas to one, but they ultimately picked an idea that they were excited about, felt they would be able to accomplish, and predicted would have a significant positive impact on the business in the next 12 months.  

Having one focus (and only one focus) will significantly increase the likelihood that the team will end 2023 with this one thing done. 

By committing to do this one thing, I reminded the team that they were also committing to putting no pressure on themselves to get anything else on the list done.  If they do what they set out to do and achieve their 2023 goal, they will be sitting in the same meeting room a year from now and still have 18 of the 19 things undone– and that’s great!  

Few things are as important as picking the things you’re going to consider “unimportant.”

So many leaders end a year frustrated with the things they didn’t do and could have done.  By picking a #1 priority, you have to acknowledge that you’re choosing to make everything else *not* the priority.

As you set your goals and priorities for 2023, ask yourself which are the one or two things that you will feel great about having done by the end of the year.  Take the time to identify those, and remind yourself that leaving the rest of your ideas untouched is a measure of success.

bethany fishbein ceo power practice

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